General Education Minister David Mabumba says suspending the grade seven, nine and 12 exams was the best option taken by government to pave way for investigations and to safeguard the interest of the pupils.

Earlier on Tuesday, Mabumba announced during a press briefing that government had suspended examinations following a leakage of the grade nine mathematics paper 2 exam which was to be written on 23 October 2018.

However, Speaking when he presented a ministerial statement on the floor of the House in Lusaka, Tuesday, Mabumba said government was investigating the matter and that as such, suspending the exams was the best option.

“Honourable speaker the 2018 grade nine examination papers were received and distributed by the Examinations Council of Zambia as per schedule as in line with the guidelines. Further, the Ministry of General Education received notification on the evening of 22 October 2018 that the grade nine mathematics paper two examination was posted on online media in particular the Zambian watchdog. Immediately management at the council took the following steps; The council informed the officers at the office of the President, and the permanent secretary administration in the ministry of general education and all other key stakeholders. The Examinations Council arranged to verify the authenticity of the circulated material. The verification process took place at the Examination Council of Zambia offices in the presence of two Zambian police officers,” he explained.

“Honourable Speaker there were two option, one of the options was to continue administering the examinations while the verification is going on. The other one was to postpone this examination. And looking at the two-option honourable speaker, when we looked at it in great depth, it was concluded that the option of postponing and suspending this examination was the best option because like I have said honourable speaker, we don’t know the amount of infiltration. Upon comparing the circulated material, with that in the ECZ storage, it was noted that indeed the 2018 mathematics paper 2 for the grade nine exams was leaked and circulated on online media. Mr Speaker arising from the findings of the verification, the following actions have been taken. In line with the Examination Council of Zambia act cap 137 of the laws of Zambia section 22 (1), the director of the Examination Council of Zambia through the Ministry of General Education has nullified the mathematics paper 2 grade nine examination which should have been written today the 23 of October 2018 in the morning at 8 hours. I have further instruction management at the Council to print another paper to be administered at a later date to be advised before the end of the examination session.”

Mabumba said he instructed the Examination Council of Zambia to issue a new exam time-table while investigations are being conducted.

“The Council management and the Ministry have been instructed to take remedial measures to mitigate the situation and thoroughly investigate the matter and bring the perpetrators to book. While the measures above are being administered, honourable speaker, I have further suspended the conduct of the examinations until further notice. I decided to suspended these examinations so that we are able to find where this infiltration is,” Mabumba said.